Monthly Archives: September 2012

Banned Book Week- Sept. 30-Oct.6, 2012

The American Library Association (ALA) is sponsoring Banned Book Week to draw attention to censorship of the written word.  Here at La Deetda Reads I endorse the freedom to read. In 2011 there were over 300 challenges to books throughout libraries in the United States.  Most of the challenges have to do with explicit sexuality and/or offensive language and sometimes violence.  Classics are not exempt from the book burning attitude of some zealots.  Go th the ALA’s site to see a list of 97 classic books that have come under fire. Then choose one to read because you live in a free country and it is your right to do so.

http://www.ala.org/advocacy/banned/frequentlychallenged/challengedclassics

 

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Review- The Secret Mistress by Mary Balogh

Title: The Secret Mistress

Genre: Historical Regency Romance

Author: Mary Balogh

Publisher: Delacorte Press, 2011

Source: Library

Rating: 3.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from amazon.com:

While Lady Angeline Dudley’s pedigree dictates that she must land a titled gentleman, the irrepressible beauty longs for a simple, ordinary suitor. So when Edward Ailsbury, the new Earl of Heyward, defends her honor with unmatched civility, Angeline thinks that she has found true love. Persuading the earl is another matter entirely. From her unconventional fashion sense to her hoydenish antics, Angeline is the last woman on earth for Edward. And yet a stolen kiss awakens something primal within him. Naturally, being a gentleman, he does the right thing after compromising a lady: He offers marriage. The proposal is born of duty, but will Angeline cause Edward to forget about decorum behind closed doors, where sensuality and seduction play wicked games? For a proper wife by day can become a husband’s secret mistress by night, when delicious desire rules.

**

This is a story of opposites attracting and love at first sight.  It is not an original concept but in the hands of Ms. Balogh it is brought to life with characters that have unique personalities.  The naïve, innocent, Angeline, has become a favorite of mine because she does act her age of only nineteen years.  She is a true reflection of the regency era, spoiled, sheltered innocent.  The earl, Edward is her perfect foil, for he is only twenty-four but old and stuffy with the weight of his title on his shoulders.  The secondary characters of Eunice and Charles were a joy to behold, again the attraction of opposites.  This is a prequel to two other books in this series More Than a Mistressand No Man’s Mistress, Angeline’s brother’s stories, which are available.

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Review- Bespelling Jane Austen by Balogh, Gleason, Krinard & Mullany

Title: Bespelling Jane Austen

Genre: Paranormal Romance Anthology

Author: Mary Balogh, Colleen Gleason, Susan Krinard, Janet Mullany

Publisher: HQN, 2010

Source: Library

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from amazon.com:

What if Austen had believed in reincarnation and vampires? Join four bestselling romance authors as they channel the wit and wisdom of Jane Austen.

Almost Persuaded by Mary Balogh

In this Regency tale of Robert and Jane, New York Times bestselling author Mary Balogh brings together former lovers who have seen beyond the veil of forgetfulness to their past mistakes, and are determined to be together in this life, and forever.

**From Deet:

Setting: Regency England

This was a sweet reincarnation story that just begged to be a bit more exciting.  I hate to say that it wasn’t just right because it was a good read, but I truly wanted more.  It is too bad Ms Balogh, who is a favorite of  mine, did not make this into a full book.  Although I wanted more it was still a lovely story and worth your time.  (79 pages) My rating- 3.5

Northanger Castle by Colleen Gleason

Caroline’s obsession with Gothic novels winds up being good training for a lifetime of destroying the undead with her newfound beau, in this Regency by Colleen Gleason.

**From Deet:

Setting: 1845 England

Ms Gleason has created a flibberdigibbet of a heroine in this story.  Caroline can’t seem to people watch without making up dramatic tales about their lives which are often very funny.  But she is aware of a strange man watching her and who seems to be wherever she might find herself.  She is convinced that he is a vampire and that she must in turn protect her friends and eliminate him so she carries a stake, a silver cross and garlic in her reticule. This was a fun, engaging story and left us wondering until the end who is the vampire. (75 pages)My Rating-4

Blood and Prejudice by Susan Krinard

Set in the business world of contemporary New York City, Liz Bennett joins Mr. Darcy in his hunt for a vampire cure in New York Times bestselling author Susan Krinard’s version of the classic story.

**From Deet:

Setting: Modern times

This story followed very close to the plot of Pride and Prejuidice as if it had been in modern times.  Krinard kept all the names the same as Austen’s characters and it was a fun to see how well it could all translate to the present; down to the silly, gossipy Mrs. Bennett.  Of course there were changes.  Lizzy was a bookstore owner, Jane worked in the family pharmaceutical labs, Bingley was a weathy business man as was Darcy. And there were vampires. I thoroughly enjoyed this story. ( 118 pages) My Rating-4

Little to Hex Her by Janet Mullany

Present-day Washington, D.C., is full of curious creatures in Janet Mullany’s story, wherein Emma is a witch with a wizard boyfriend and a paranormal dating service to run.

**From Deet:

Setting: Modern Times

Again the Austen plot of Emma has been followed closely by Janet Mullany reimagined in modern Washington, DC.  Emma Woodhouse now runs a Dating Service (totally appropriate), Knightly is a lawyer and entrepreneur, Harriet is a Secretary to Emma and Frank Church is a hot rogue of a vampire.  This story was funny and sexy and totally delightful.  (84 pages) My rating-4.5

Deet’s Overview:

All four stories were very readable and had touches of the Paranormal which made them lots of fun.  Having not read any of the popular monster-mash-up books currently on the market I didn’t know what to expect here but I really enjoyed this entire book.  I have previously reviewed each of these authors except Susan Krinard.  I recommend their books and you can find my reviews by typing in the name in my search box on the left. My Overall rating: 4 a good read.

 

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Review- The Last Bride In Ballymuir by Dorien Kelly

Title: The Last Bride In  Ballymuir

Genre: Contemporary Irish Romance

Author: Dorien Kelly

Publisher: Koa’e Press, 2012

Source: Kindle Free

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from amazon.com:

A Romance Writers of America RITA Award finalist!

When Michael Kilbride, a handsome man with a dark past, arrives in the Irish village of Ballymuir, rumors begin to fly. While many turn against him, one woman steps forward–the village’s beloved schoolteacher, Kylie O’Shea. Kylie’s friends have long believed that proper Kylie is bound to fulfill the local legend of being the last bride in Ballymuir. But sparks soon ignite between Michael and Kylie. Will Kylie, who also hides secrets, find the courage to confront her past and claim passion as her own?

**

This is a not always lovely glimpse at life in a small town in Ireland.  The romance is heartfelt and heartwarming.  The obstacles to overcome are full of danger and we fear that love will not be able to overcome them.  The characters are real and not one dimensional.  The townspeople are like most small townspeople, gossipy and tight knit. We do fall in love with Michael and ache for his seemingly unsolvable problems.  We admire Kylie for her code of honor and for her growth from shy girl to forthright woman.

The author has created wonderful characters that demand admiration.  This is a unique story and very satisfying.

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Review- Christmas Cash by Maggie Casper

Title:  Christmas Cash

Genre: Erotic novella

Author: Maggie Casper

Publisher: Elora’s Cave, 2009

Source: Kindle Free

Rating: 2

Sexy Rating: 5+

Description from amazon.com:

If you can’t beat him, irritate the hell out of him. Moving back home to Chaos, Texas wasn’t working out quite the way Noelle had planned. The last thing she expected was a seasonal job that included dressing up as Mrs. Claus while ringing a bell for charity, but thanks to Cash McCain, she wasn’t left much of a choice. Cash can’t believe what ten years can do for a woman. The last time he’d seen Noelle, she’d been all knees and elbows. Now a woman grown yet still ten years his junior, thus too young for him, Noelle has filled out in a way that should be illegal. When Cash refuses her a job at Raising Cain, a Texas honky-tonk run by the McCain siblings, she takes it upon herself to make his life miserable. Who could have imagined the damage a tiny, tinkling bell could cause to a man’s sanity? But when things heat up, Cash begins to think that raising a little cane with the likes of Noelle might not be such a bad thing after all.

 

**

Yes, there are some things I read that are just terrible.  I don’t often tell you about them preferring to give you recommendations of the good to great things I read.  But lest you think I’m a Pollyanna when it comes to books, I’ve decided to tell you about this stinker.

 

There is very little character development but lets face it how much can you get into 49 pages?  Obviously you can get in a lot of sex which seems rather second thought for the male protagonist.  He is more concerned with punishing the female Protagonist and when he becomes aroused…well might as well finish the encounter.  There is spanking in this novella as well as a boorish Cash and a slutty Noelle.  Noelle is so desperate to get sex from Cash that she will even risk it in the bar backroom where any one of his brothers can walk in and obviously they did view the event.   The only nod to the holiday is the fact that Noelle rings a bell for a charity on the street corner. I’m not likely to read this author again. Even for Free.  AND the cover is awful.

P.S.- I was going to save this review for the holidays but I don’t want to sully the season.

 

 

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Review- Ember by Bettie Sharpe

Title: Ember

Genre: Adult Fractured Fairytale

Author: Bettie Sharpe

Publisher:

Source: Kindle, $.99 purchase(Novella / 32,000 words)

Rating: 4.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from amazon.com:

Everyone loves Prince Charming. They have to—he’s cursed. Every man must respect him. Every woman must desire him. One look, and all is lost.

Ember would rather carve out a piece of her soul than be enslaved by passions not her own. She turns to the dark arts to save her heart and becomes the one woman in the kingdom able to resist the Prince’s Charm.

Poor girl. If Ember had spent less time studying magic and more time studying human nature, she might have guessed that a man who gets everything and everyone he wants will come to want the one woman he cannot have.
**

I really like the idea of mashing up the old fairytales but so often the reality of what I read doesn’t live up to my expectations.  Not so with this treatment.

Sharpe offers up three charming Step-relatives who are whores, a not-too-wicked witch of a Cinderella and a Prince cursed (or blessed) to have all love and revere him.  She does all this with wit, and superbly constructed plot and prose as well as brilliant imagination.  This reads like an old time fairytale but not the kiddy version, for there are some very sexy encounters.

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Review- Dorothy On The Rocks by Barbara Suter

Title: Dorothy On The Rocks

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Author: Barbara Suter

Publisher: Algonquin

Source: Purchase,  Kindle, $1.99

Rating: 3.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from amazon.com:

In Maggie Barlow’s world, reality is overrated. So what if her singing career has hit a sour note or she’s no longer the ingénue that she used to be? So what if she drinks and smokes a bit too much or likes to chat with a fairy godperson who appears to her from time to time? She’s the queen of denial and an actress to boot—she can just take on the role of someone she likes better than her sorry self. Regrettably, that role is currently Dorothy in the Little Britches Theater Company’s production of The Wizard of Oz.

Dorothy on the Rocks is the story of a funny, lovable, totally self-destructive woman who, after a night of one-drink-too-many, wakes up with a strange man in her bed: confident, handsome, sexy, twenty-eight-year-old Jack. What happens next is what makes Barbara Suter’s coming-of-middle-age tale so much fun. For when the make-believe is finally stripped away, our hurt, lonely, and very afraid heroine finally takes center stage and finds herself starring in a totally improbable love story. It just might be the role of a lifetime.

**

The protagonist, Maggie, is disaster waiting to happen.  We become very sympathetic to all of her struggles with life.  The fact that she is falling in love with a guy who is twelve years her junior sends warning bells to her but she is going to ride out the “happy” while she can since everything else is not working.

Barbara Suter has penned a thoughtful look at shattered dreams and indomitable spirit.  The book is funny and sad. I laughed and I cried.  I was hoping for a more upbeat reading experience but I was not disappointed in the realization of a well plotted book replete with interesting characters and a glimpse into the lives of thespians and entertainers who struggle to make a living.

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Review- Intimate Deception by Laura Landon

Title: Intimate Deception

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Laura Landon

Publisher: Montlake Romance, Oct. 2012

Available for pre-order on Amazon.com

Source: Free for Review from Amazon Vine Program

Rating: 3.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from amazon.com:

When Lady Grace Warren’s father sells her in marriage to the depraved Lord Fentington, she knows only the most drastic action will save her from a life of misery. In Victorian England, a woman possesses only one item of value: her virtue. Without it, Fentington will not want her—nor will any other man. But at least she will be free. Now she must find a man with whom to pass the fateful night, a man who will ask no questions, make no other demands. Because for a woman preparing to risk everything, no ordinary man will do…

After losing two wives in childbirth, Vincent Germaine, Duke of Raeburn, vows never to marry again. Racked with guilt over the lives lost in his quest for an heir, he is careful now to take his pleasure only with London’s most discreet courtesans. Yet when he learns that a passionate encounter with a bewitching stranger may have put yet another life at risk, Vincent sets out to find the unsuspecting girl—and discovers a woman of incomparable courage, beauty, and strength. But can two strangers brought together by desperation find true love against all odds?

**

New to me author, Laura Landon, has written about a dozen romance novels.  But that was evident to me without even knowing that trivia in advance.  Her skill at character and plot development was obvious right from the first pages.

Vincent was a dashing duke even if he did get a bit whiny throughout.  I did want to tell him to “buck-up ole bean”.  Grace was a bit naïve and ignorant about the birds and the bees but we forgive her for those small traits because she was successful in avoiding marriage to the villain.  That villain and Grace’s father were not nice at all.  Thankfully, Grace had her sisters for support.  There is a twist and it is hinted at so that it is not a total surprise but still surprising enough.

A recommendation from me and I will be reading more from Ms Landon.

Amazon.com currently has Ms Landon’s book , WHEN LOVE IS ENOUGH, onsale for Kindle for $.99.  I think this will be my next purchase.

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Review- The Inconvenient Duchess by Christine Merrill

Title: The Inconvenient Duchess

 

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: ChristineMerrill

Publisher: Harlequin Historical, 2006,2012

Source: Kindle Free

Rating: 4.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from amazon.com:

Dear Cici and Father,

I have come to Devon and married a duke. And I’m more tired and hungry than I have ever been in my life. Please let me come home.

Compromised and wedded on the same day, Lady Miranda was fast finding married life not to her taste. A decaying manor and a secretive husband were hardly the stuff of girlish dreams. Yet every time she looked at dark, brooding Marcus Radwell, Duke of Haughleigh, she felt inexplicably compelled—and determined—to make their marriage real!

**

This HR was delightfully different than most.  Setting aside the improbable circumstances that triggered the marriage, the resulting story was top notch and very compelling.  I finished this in one day with several interruptions.  The duke’s brother was a totally engaging dastardly rake.  The heroine was delightful in her worldliness and in her naiveté.  I think the characterization of the major characters was so well done that we could believe that they were real.  For they all had traits both good and not so good in their personalities.  I can recommend this book to Historical Regency romance fans and I will seek out more books by Christine Merrill.

AND it’s free on Kindle!

 

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Review- Confessions At Midnight by Jacquie d’Alessandro

Title: Confessions At Midnight

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Jacquie d’Alessandro

Publisher: Avon 2007

Source: Kindle purchase

Rating: 3

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from amazon.com:

Carolyn Turner, Viscountess Wingate, is absolutely shocked by the Ladies Literary Society of London’s latest selection. Memoirs of a Mistress is scandalously explicit and downright wicked . . . and it’s stirring feelings within Carolyn that she hasn’t felt . . . well, ever! She’s sure that this steamy read is the only reason she’s succumbing to the charms of notorious rogue Daniel Sutton, Lord Surbrooke. She couldn’t possibly be falling for the rascal and his illicit caresses . . . or could she?

The last thing Daniel wanted was to be shackled by marriage vows. He lusted after Carolyn, sure, but he never imagined that once he lured her to his bed he’d never want to let her go. Yet only when a murderer targets his beloved will he be spurred to confess his true love . . . and claim Carolyn as his.

**

This novel had a murder mystery along with many pages of sex.  I wish more had been done with the mystery and a bit less with the sex.  For many pages there was narration about  how the two main characters felt about everything. I would have appreciated more dialog.  This was my first book by this author and I felt her character development was well done along with her prose, the plotting was where I lost interest.  I will try this author again since others have recommended her novels.

 

 

 

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